In a scene that sometimes seems a little oversaturated with cavernous sound design, post-isms and expansive experimentalism, a band that innovates through understatement can be a breath of fresh air.
Brighton’s up and coming noiseniks Herd Mover are just that, self-described as ‘Kyuss playing Immortal covers’ the band’s genre-bending fusion of noise rock, hardcore and black metal is a wildly varied take on the riff – exemplified by sophomore release Vol 2: Rural Banishment.
We caught up with Jake Burgess (Guitars) to discuss the band’s origins, obscure covers, and politely getting rid of the notion of genre.
How did you guys first get together?
I moved into Sam’s house in Brighton in late 2015 and having played in several bands together since our teens we decided to start another one. We started as a two piece but we quickly realised that neither of us could do vocals adequately, and play our respective instruments so we enlisted the help of Zak and it went from there.
Your music is a unique amalgamation of different styles of rock and metal, is this intentional? How did it come about?
It’s very intentional, when we practice we tend to go between knowingly writing songs and having all out jam sessions, which is where the slower more stoner/desert rock influences are rooted.
Who/what inspires you musically?
My initial vision for this band was to have a heavy noise rock influence, I was listening to a lot of Shellac and The Jesus Lizard at the time. Although there are aspects of that sound in our music, we began taking cues from grindcore bands like Pig Destroyer and Famine in order to fill the sound out and when Zak joined our mutual love for bands like The Machine and Sleep started seeping into the material as well. Aside from that we all listen to a lot of rap/hip hop – every time we’ve had to drive somewhere for a show this year we’ve listened to Migos’ Culture and Flatbush Zombies’ 3001 at least once.
You walk a fine line between technicality and noisy bedlam, is this hard to pull off? Do you feel your music functions better on record or live?
It’s definitely not intentionally technical, a review for our demo went out which said something along the lines of ‘the riffs themselves are drunk as fuck but still somehow pull off these really impressive moves’ which we thought was funny. If we were a martial art herd mover would be drunken monkey. I think it translates better live but our latest EP is a great representation of our live show.
Do you feel the notion of genre becoming increasingly redundant in 2017?
I see genre as more of a guideline than a strict rule, I sometimes feel awkward trying to define us in terms of a genre because to me it doesn’t matter but someone else may come away disappointed if I say “oh we’re a hardcore band” and they hear us and think “that’s not what I assosciate with hardcore” to me that’s what we are essentially; loud, fast and hard music.
But to answer your question, yes, genre is becoming more and more redundant. I love seeing mixed bills, I think it’s silly to write off other genres or sub genres just because they may not fit a certain sound or aesthetic a promoter thinks they should adhere to when putting together a bill and honestly it’s something I see less and less of every year.
Brighton seems to have a thriving scene for upcoming heavy acts, have you found it hard to stand out?
No to be honest, although the scene is thriving, it is still relatively small and in my short two years of living in Brighton I have gotten to know a large proportion of the musicians and promoters who deal in the heavier side of things. We’re also usually the odd band out on a bill so we tend to stick out regardless, whether that’s negative or positive thing isn’t for me to say haha.
That Candlemass cover at your show in February was sick, not many people picked up on it (‘At The Gallows End’ is an eternal banger), have you got any unconventional covers planned for the future?
Thank you! Yeah the trouble with that cover is its most identifiable feature is the vocals and we did a pretty good job of bastardising that aspect of the song, we also only play the *hard* bits. We’re always talking about covers, I think they’re incredibly underrated tools that every up and coming band should be utilising because they’re fun and get people who may not be familiar with your bands material involved in your performance. We once played an incredibly quiet show in Wellingborough with Budgrief and we decided to pull out our version of Mike Jones‘ ‘tippin on 4 4’s’ so maybe we’ll work that into the set.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2017?
More shows and maybe another EP before we start work on a full length. Our next show is August 20th at the SCNS kitchen in Brighton (shout out my dogs Tom, Frank and Rau)
Herd Mover’s Vol 2: Rural Banishment is out now, get it here.